World Mental Health Day 2022

Why the Arts and Cultural Activities Are Good For You

A rad wolf

Dreamachine is an invitation to disconnect from everyday life and reconnect with yourself and others in a radically new way; by sitting back, closing your eyes and taking a fascinating journey inside your own mind.

The Mental Health Foundation reports that engaging with the arts and taking part in cultural activities can have powerful and lasting effects on health. It can help to protect against a range of mental health problems, help manage emotional wellbeing and support recovery. On top of helping people to reconnect with themselves and find joy in the outside world, it also helps at a community level, promoting social connections among participants.

Social activities and interaction within our communities can help with major challenges, such as loneliness and ageing. It can help to boost confidence and make us feel more engaged and resilient. Engagement with art is also positively linked to alleviating anxiety, depression and stress.

For lots of people, finding the time to switch off from the hustle and bustle of everyday life is a constant challenge – however when you do, the impact can be hugely beneficial. 

This summer, Dreamachine offered a shared space for personal reflection away from the distractions of everyday life, and we have been really moved by the rich range of responses from participants who visited. What Dreamachine unlocks within its visitors is distinctly unique to every individual. However, many participants have reported a heightened sense of relaxation, reflection and communal togetherness after experiencing Dreamachine, feelings that are often recognised as valuable foundations for positive emotional wellbeing. Our brilliant team of onsite Guardians are trained to help hold our audiences journey through the Dreamachine with love and care – whatever their experience.

While our tour of the immersive experience has now finished, you can explore the evolving Reflections Library; an archive of both drawn and written reflections from participants following their Dreamachine experience. We have also included a range of the testimonials below.

This World Mental Health Day, make time for yourself and enjoy the benefits and the positive impact that taking part in art and cultural activities within your community can have on your mental health and wellbeing. 

If you are interested in exploring the wider themes of Dreamachine and are looking for a fun and stimulating activity, you can take part in The Perception Census: a series of optical illusions, mind benders, and games to test your powers of perception.

The Perception Census is a new scientific study into the unique ways we each experience the world around us that aims to shed light on perceptual diversity, led by world-leading academics Professor of Neuroscience Anil Seth from the University of Sussex and Professor of Philosophy Fiona Macpherson from the University of Glasgow.


Participant Testimonials

‘It was one of the most amazing, evocative experiences I’ve ever had. I stopped for 30 minutes and let myself feel. I surrendered to the power of something else which actually in turn turned out to be the power within me. I let myself go and I felt…it was numbing, confronting, and beautiful.’

‘Still absolutely buzzing from this. I’ve now spent a day and a half feeling and thinking differently. That is, more optimistically, more open mindedly. Happier! Calmer and steadier. ‘

‘I felt incredibly calm and warm, somewhat euphoric but the world was very spacious and serene. Felt a lot of the time like I was being dipped into a body of water in which there was a sanctuary for the mind.’

‘I believe that this should be available permanently, to everyone. If every person did this once a day, there would be a lot more peace and mindfulness.’

‘It made me feel that humans ultimately just want to feel connection, love and safety, and what a world it would be if we all created more spaces like this and committed to love and openness more often.’

‘I felt like I was on a journey, like I was looking at my life through the mist of this world. I was seeing my highs and lows, past, present and future. I was feeling a big sense of peace and stillness, a recognisable warmth and flexible control as if everything will be manageable as long as I keep this sense of peace and stillness.’

‘I felt as if I was journeying through tension, but the tension was euphoric and comforting. I felt as if I was travelling through portals watching the universe pass me by, not knowing where I was going or meant to be going, but everything felt right.’

‘It was a chance to de-stress and take my mind to a different place. It made me feel less anxious after a difficult week and a chance to explore my senses with this experience.’

‘I felt a deep sense of love. How much I love, how I love and of course who I love. As colours danced my heart danced with them.’

‘We live our lives convinced that what we see is the one true reality. This could not be further from the truth. This experience reminded me of this. Thank you.’


Participant Drawings

Explore the full Reflections Gallery here.



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